A Narrative History
The People of Iowa
SPECIAL TREATMENT OF THEIR CHIEF ENTERPRISES IN
EDUCATION, RELIGION, VALOR, INDUSTRY,
EDGAR RUBEY HARLAN, LL. B., A. M.
Curator of the
Historical, Memorial and Art Department of Iowa
THE AMERICAN HISTORICAL SOCIETY, Inc.
Chicago and New York
WILLIAM J. GOODWIN, of Des Moines, is conspicuous among Iowa business men as a brick and tile manufacturer, an industry in which he was early associated with his father, and which he has developed during the past quarter of a
century until he is the head of two large companies, operating in the Des Moines district. Mr. Goodwin has also been a prominent leader in Republican politics in Iowa for a number of years.
He was born in Boone County, Iowa, January 15, 1878, son of Robert and
Margaret (Maxwell) Goodwin. His father was born near Edinburgh, Scotland, was
left an orphan at an early age, had no schooling beyond what he gave himself,
and his determination and energy and perseverance enabled him to achieve a much more than ordinary success in life. He was well informed, and met and mingled on terms of quality with many men of college training. In Scotland he
learned the business of coal mining, working in some of the Dixon mines owned by his uncle of that name, who was quite a prominent coal operator and developed a number of mines in Scotland. Robert Goodwin came to the United States at
the age of fifteen and found work for his skill as a coal miner in eastern states. In the 70's he settled in Boone County, Iowa, where he bought land, engaged in farming, and later became interested in brick and tile manufacture. He married Margaret Maxwell, a native of Quebec, Canada. Both died in Iowa. They were members of the Presbyterian Church. Fraternally he was affiliated with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and Ancient Order of United Workmen. He was a Republican and was mayor of Grand Junction, Iowa, for several years. He and his wife had seven children, six of whom are living.
William J. Goodwin attended country schools in Iowa, graduated from the high
school at Grand Junction, and in 1899 took the A. B. degree at Drake
University at Des Moines. At Grand Junction he took charge of a brick plant with
his father, and Grand Junction was his home from 1901 to 1903. In the latter
year he and his father and brother built a brick plant called the Goodwin Brick
& Tile Works, and subsequently he became interested int eh REdfield Tile
Company, at Redfield, Iowa, where for many years he has owned one of the large plants manufacturing brick and tile and other clay products. He and his youngest brother, Daniel Goodwin, own the Des Moines plant. Mr. Goodwin is a director of the Iowa Des Moines National Bank. Besides his interests as a manufacturer he is extensively interested in farming land in Iowa. He also manages his father's estate, a very large one, and a measure of his father's successful achievements. Mr. Goodwin was for some time president of the Iowa Clay Products Association. His two manufacturing plants do a business probably valued at $500,000 annually.
Mr. Goodwin in 1901 married Miss Grace Kingman, daughter of Smith and
Rebecca (Higbee) Kingman. Her father was born in New England, and came to Iowa from New York State. He lived at Des Moines for many years and was widely known as a farmer and nurseryman and fruit packer. Mrs. Goodwin attended school in Des Moines, including Drake University. They have two sons, Robert K. and William J., Jr. Robert K., born in 1905, was educated at Drake University and in George Washington University at Washington, D. C., graduating from the former. William J., Jr., is a student at Drake University. He graduated with honors from the Roosevelt High School at Des Moines, being president of his
class and captain of his high school football team. An added member of the family is Jane Ross, whom Mr. and Mrs. Goodwin have reared from early childhood. The Goodwin family are active members of the Plymouth Congregational
Church, and Mr. Goodwin has served on the church board. He is a Scottish Rite Mason and Shriner, member of the Woodmen of the World and the Rotary Club. Since 1907 he has served as a member of the Board of Trustees of Drake University, being now chairman of the board.
He has taken a deep interest in Republican party politics since early
manhood, and while living in Greene County was member of the Republican County Executive Committee. He served two terms as county chairman, and he managed the campaign of C. C. Dowell for Congress and was president of the Cummins for
President Club. Mr. Goodwin was a member of the State Senate of Iowa from 1922 to 1926. In his first candidacy he was elected without opposition, something that had never happened in his district before. Mr. Goodwin owns a
beautiful country home near Redfield, Iowa, where he frequently entertains his Des Moines friends.
*Check your facts, don't know how accurate.